Joined: Oct. 2009
I have often considered this as well and I am left wondering not so much how to conduct myself in an appropriate manner, but how the hell to convince every else to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner.
First let me say that I was raised Christian... Southern Baptist actually. I got better. My family was not affluent, but they allowed me most of what I wanted. Instead of spoiled, as I learned about the environment and economics and many other things, I grew out of it.
I know I'm not perfect, but I try. My recycling can is full every week, while the garbage can (the same size) is barely a third full. My car is not that efficient, but it's better than most.
If I had the money, I would have a wind turbine and solar panels and a pure electric car. Not because it would convince everyone else, but because it would allow me to live with myself.
And that is, I think, my take home lesson. You're right, you can't unlearn or unsee. But you can do 'the right thing' for the sake of your own sanity. What is the right thing? Well, that's up to you. Is it helping the environment by recycling or turning the lights off, is it contributing to a charity (more on that in a minute), is it donating time to a soup kitchen or a school for adults?
You have to do whatever it is that you can do that you think will help. You are the one that has to look yourself in the mirror and say, "I did good yesterday"... or "Man, I was a shit yesterday".
I'm not sure if that was the direction you were going, but that's my opinion (of course that and $4.50 will get you a cup of coffee... or you could make your own cup for $0.25).
A note on charities. The CEO of the company I work for made her annual visit to our location for the yearly report (it was very good). But she told the story of a for-profit school in Kenya. Our company purchased the company in Kenya and is looking to expand the concept all over the world.
This company goes into a village and builds a 'school'. A very basic building, usually without electricity. Tin roofs, tin walls (maybe), but there are tables and benches for the students. The teachers are given 8 weeks of intensive training on administration and teaching.
It costs parents in the village $4 per month to send a child to the school. Keep in mind that most of the villagers make less than $2 per day. The parents send their kids as soon as the school is open, but often don't pay the first day. They are used to charities running schools, so they just don't pay. The second day, the kids are sent home if the parents don't pay. So far, every parent, in every village (and there are a lot) have paid to have their child go to school.
The school, pays the teacher, pays a villager to maintain the building, pays the women of the village to cook lunches for the kids.
The parents get involved. They are spending their hard earned money to give their kids an education, so they are involved. They want to know that the kids ar doing well and the kids are taught to behave in school by the parents.
So far, the majority of the kids have gone from being illterate and no math skills to on grade level skills in months or just a few years, not 10-12 either less than 3 in all cases.
The schools are helping to bootstrap the economy of the village. They are educating. They are making a difference. Whereas the charities came in, taught until their money ran out and then left. Everything was free, so there was no motivation, there were no gains in the economy, etc.
I'm not a fan of those types of charities. I am not a fan of religious charities. I am a fan of disaster relief and charities that make the recepient a part of the process (habitat for humanities for example, but I have a seperate issue with them too).
Mostly, I give my donations to animal and environmental based charities. Animals can't help themselves against the depredations of humans. We have to help them. That's my 'morality' if you will... that's what allows me to sleep at night. If a cat or dog doesn't have to die because I gave the shelter a few bucks and a couple bags of cat food, then I have made a difference in a life... even if its not human.
OK... shutting up now.
Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.